I’m now four weeks into life with Baby No. 2 and each day is getting a little bit easier for me. Ok, sometimes, it feels a little bit harder!? Either way, it’s been both an empowering and a challenging experience. In the last week, there’ve been moments where I’ve become hard on myself; in particular, I’ve become a bit down on my body. I don’t yet have the green light to return to my exercise routine, and I’ve been freely over-indulging in sweet treats. I’m not exactly sure what to wear in these early post-partum days and well, it just all feels a bit mushy – physically and emotionally. It got me thinking back another time in my life where I was really hard on myself.
Back in 2001, I was a single girl living in NYC. I was exhausted working 3 jobs, and had been dumped by my boyfriend right before the holidays. It was my quarter-life crisis moment and I started to turn against my body. While I was at a normal, healthy weight and had always been body-confident, I found I’d become fixated on my thighs. I stopped seeing myself in a beautiful way. I remember standing in front of the mirror in my undies and hearing my inner voice literally attacking my thighs, saying, You’re so round! Why can’t you be smaller? Why are you so big? I was even grabbing my outer thigh with my hand and wondering what my leg would look like if I had liposuction. It was as if the anxiety and uncertainty I was feeling about life was narrowing itself in on a body part. And that negative voice kept getting louder.
All of the sudden, I realized what I was doing to myself and it seemed crazy! Suddenly, the confident self-loving Dana that I’d known my whole life was fed up. I marched myself into the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror. I looked deep into my own eyes and started saying out loud, You’re okay. You’re beautiful. I love you. Stop this self-destructive nonsense. You love yourself WAY more than this!
It was a breakthrough moment. No longer would I allow myself to get stuck in that nasty repetitive loop of Negative Body Banter – the self-destructive mental chatter I’d been inflicting upon myself and my thighs. From that day forward, I began saying affirmations of self-love. I was talking to myself the way I’d talk to my best friend in crisis. Then, I started having more fun with the process, incorporating grand dramatic affirmations like, “Thighs, you are terribly gorgeous. I love how juicy you are. Any man would be lucky to catch a even a glance of you!”
You might think that sounds ridiculous, and it felt that way at first. But it was a major awakening for me. It was self-care in its purest form and it’s grown into something far beyond the acute fix I needed that day and into such a beautiful relationship that I have with myself.
So, when I noticed that negative voice rise up again the other day, I went right back to what I know. I put myself back in front of the mirror, stopped ragging on my “post-natal puffiness” and refocused on what is feeling sexy and beautiful right now. My eyes are really sparkly. My bust, so plump and glowy. My hair, damn, it’s magnificent! My belly, magical to have created the most amazing baby! And honestly, once I get into that self-lovin’ groove, I can go on and on about myself. But I won’t bore you with my list 😉
Instead, I challenge you to transform the negative messages you send yourself into more loving ones. Think of a body part you’ve been down on, or a perceived flaw you repeatedly fixate upon and counteract it with a positive, sexy self-love saying. Hating your arms? Flip the script and dig deep to find something sexy about them. Think your butt looks fat? Retrain your brain to say something amazing about its seductive shape. We may not be able to banish the negative body banter from our lives completely, but can we can quickly nip it in the bud when it shows up. Life’s too short and sweet to waste time tearing ourselves down, right? Let’s support each other and take ownership in building our sexy self-confidence up instead!
With loads of love & affection,